No matter how many times your doctor, nurses, and well meaning family members remind you that your c-section was major abdominal surgery, you may be tempted to get back into your regular pre-baby fitness routine the second you can muster up the energy. You’re better off engaging in gentle exercises that will allow your body to gradually heal itself and get back to normal. The key is to really listen and tune into your body.
Instead of getting too ahead of yourself and making a hard thing excruciating, check out these 20 Easy And Safe At Home Work Outs After A C-Section. Before engaging in any fitness regiment, however small it may be, do consult with your medical provider first to get cleared for being able to work out.
20. Basic Stretching
The importance of basic stretching can’t be underestimated when it comes to any exercise regiment – let alone when recovering from a caesarian section.
It’s low impact, able to be done anywhere, and in most clothes. If you plan on doing any other activity stretching is imperative to preventing getting hurt and helping extend those joints as far as they can go.
Walking is free, able to be done on most terrain if you’re dressed appropriately, and the simplest thing you can get into habit of doing after having your baby.
Next to stretching, it’s the ultimate activity to get your endurance going again and can be the quickest way you get back into fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothing, as well.
18. Hip Rolls
To accommodate for your growing child, your hips along with your pelvis naturally expand. This can cause your entire body to feel off balance, not just through pregnancy, but when you’re feeling the repercussions of this shift in the postpartum period.
Add an incision that needs to heal on your stomach from your c-section and you may feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place. Hip rolls, where you stand with your hands on your hips, legs arms width apart, and roll your hips around may help settle those bones back slowly where they belong.
When you recover from a c-section you have to remember that your muscles have not only been weakened by pregnancy and carrying the weight that comes with it, but the surgery itself. It’s imperative to not wait until you have back pain to begin a slow regiment to strengthen your core.
Try to do a bridge pose, even if you can’t extend too much in the beginning. Practice makes perfect – and this one is one that’ll even do your bum some good.
16. Legs Up The Wall Pose
Find a shallow pillow and scootch up to any wall in your house, lay on your back facing it, and extend your legs upwards to lean against and be parallel to the wall. You can just stay here and it may have a positive effect on your circulation.
If you want to venture further, slide your legs to the right or left side for added resistance. Some have even commented that this position may be good for repositioning the uterus. Be mindful of this pose if you have low blood pressure problems – it may cause you to feel dizzy and that could lead to injury.
15. Modified Plow Pose
The Plow Pose is something every mom should strive to experience and is one that isn’t just good for the body but for the soul, as well. It is the ultimate pose that may not only lengthen the spine and shoulders but also relax the nervous system – which is so imperative for a mom running hot and cold with hormones and so much to balance.
Near the end of a traditional yoga class, the practitioners go into plow pose right before they stretch out into corpse pose – the most still of all poses where you just lay flat on the ground. If you’ve had a c-section, you slowly want to build up to this position as you don’t want to over extend yourself.
14. Sphinx Pose
The Sphinx Pose is beneficial for women who have experienced muscle separation of their stomach during pregnancy (so most women) and especially those who have been diagnosed with diastis recti directly from their doctor. This pose is good for lower back problems and giving your body just the right amount of work to do without hurting yourself and is less intense than for example the Cobra Pose.
Make sure you don’t spend too much time on your stomach like this, especially if your stitches have not healed completely, and take it minute by minute.
13. Hand Weights
You don’t need huge machines to get results in building yourself the body you desire, while also being gentle on your mom warrior wounds. Just pick up a few various hand weights – I recommend 2 lb, 5 lb and 10 lbs to build up to – and search the internet for some easy repetitions you can squeeze into your every day workout.
While looking up which moves to engage in to build muscle in certain areas, pay extra attention to the proper form you need to take to prevent injury.
12. Seated Kegels
Let’s dispel the myth that Kegel exercises are only for women who are planning or have had a vaginal birth. Kegels, which are general pelvic floor exercises, are done by repetitively clenching and then releasing the muscles that build up your pelvic floor (think about the action you take when you have to hold going to the washroom).
Kegels for women after caesarean delivery are even more vital to help prevent urinary incontinence problems and potential prolapses of other organs. Since your c-section surgery has shifted around some vital parts of your body, the separation between your stomach and your already weakened pelvic floor needs more attention than usual.
11. Side Plank
There is a modified version of this move, where you leave your knees on the floor, so perhaps start there and build up to a full extension. The side plank is a foundational exercise to help your core recover and build endurance.
Lift yourself up slowly from the ground and reach the arm opposite to the ground as high as feels comfortable, and come back down. Repeat for as many times as you like – between 10 and 20 repetitions.
10. Belly Breathing
Diaphragmatic or belly breathing may not seem too exciting or life-changing of an exercise, but is wonderful to really help you listen to your insides.
All you need to start is to get comfortable sitting down, take a slow deep breath in through your nose, and breathe out in a similar fashion. Deep breathing exercises help us focus, relax and heal by connecting the body to the spirit.
9. Wall Sit
Find any wall and you’ve got yourself the perfect base for practicing another simple but very efficient exercise – your traditional wall sit.
The concept behind these helping you after a c-section is focused on strengthening that core but also developing your thigh and leg muscles – basically your lower body that may allow you to heal faster if it’s stronger and more muscular since they’re what carry you through the day.
8. Step Ups
Climbing more than a few steps at a time (like a set of stairs) is a big no-no after a caesarean section, but you can try some simple step-ups to tide you over (going up a stair, one foot after another, then back down again the same way).
This works muscles in your calves, your thighs, your buttocks and your core overall.
7. Sitting On An Exercise Ball
Feeling off balance in your body is a common occurrence in postpartum moms and it’s due to having had to adjust your centre of gravity while carrying a child for 9+ months.
Swapping out regular chairs for an exercise ball will be a super simple way to find that equilibrium again as it forces your body to be aware of your core as not to fall off. As a mom we also tend to feel some stiffness in our body from sitting in a certain position for too long with our baby, so this one acts as a break from that, too.
6. Pelvic Tilt
Doing a pelvic tilt involves squeezing your muscles and lifting your bum slightly off the ground towards the sky as you breathe in and slowly lowering it as you breathe out. It’s an essential exercise to help get you back to proper posture postpartum (try saying that 3 times).
It’s a perfect transitional pose into the bridge pose and one you can also split up with some Kegel exercises, too. An alternative way to do a pelvic tilt is to be on all hands and knees and curling your stomach in followed by bending your back like a cat. Feel out which one is more comfortable since you may be sensitive to gravity doing the second version.
5. Upper Back Exercises
Since a c-section can put a damper on typical core and lower body exercises, the area you may find yourself working out the most is your upper body.
From lateral pull downs to arm extensions, upper back exercises will build your muscles up to the level you require to lug around a child at random times of the day (once you’re OK to do that, as according to your doctor). If reaching up at any point, do also get the green light from your doc to do so, since you don’t want to be pulling on your stitches if still there.
4. Downward Dog
Downward Dog allows your ligaments in both the back of your legs and your back to get a very deep stretch, but this position is better left for the middle of your postpartum fitness journey, since it may pull on your stitches.
Everyone has a different opinion of this move after a c-section but it is said to be good to elongate your spine and feel your energy coarse through your body.
3. Ankle Circles
Easy peasy ankle circles are often overlooked when it comes to anyone’s fitness routine but your ankles are the part of your body your entire weight relies on to carry it. Spending a few minutes a day rolling both ankles clockwise and then counter-clockwise may help alleviate pain in the rest of your body, as well.
Circling your ankles like this softens the tendons around your legs and improves your ankle muscles that have taken a lot of stress from the extra weight you carried through pregnancy.
2. Calf Raises
Calf raises can be done in addition to ankle circles to improve ankle and whole leg stability. To not get thrown off balance, hold a wall sideways when you slowly elevate both legs off of the ground at the same time and come down again.
Do about 20 repetitions to start feeling a burn in your calves and make it a daily practice to see some good progress.
1. Postpartum Yoga Classes
You may hardly be waiting to sweat it out again in the hot yoga class you frequented before children but common sense and your doctor will tell you that it is not recommended.
Lucky for us these days, there are many group exercise classes created especially for postpartum women, and postpartum yoga classes just might be the gem between all of them. Brief the instructor on the fact that you had a c-section before starting and get a few other moms to join you to motivate you even more to attend regularly.